Don’t overlook risks from automatic data entry into EHRs
Regarding the article “Getting the data stream flowing: Hospitals want monitoring devices and EHRs to communicate” (Modern Healthcare, p. 20, May 11), entering vitals such as blood pressure, respiration rate and oxygen saturation from electronic monitors directly into the electronic health record saves time and eliminates data-entry errors. But in bypassing the need for a human being to inspect it, who is going to notice that blood pressure is remaining stable despite the introduction of anti-hypertensive meds, or that increasing the amount of oxygen is not raising oxygen saturation?
Waiting until the end of the shift to review data entered automatically— even if it is “within normal limits” and thus not automatically flagged by the EHR interface for immediate attention—may be too late.
When data are entered manually by someone trained to know what it means, you know it has been vetted in a more sophisticated manner than any one-size-fits-all computer algorithm. Human beings haven’t been replaced by computers just yet. Lawrence Jankowski
Morton Grove, Ill.